The debate over Israel’s conduct in its war against Hamas is exposing deep tensions in the House Democratic Caucus as Rep. Andre Carson called fellow Democrat Josh Gottheimer a “punk” and a “coward,” saying the two “could get into something else” after they disagreed over a measure aimed at showing support for Israel.
Since the deadly Hamas offensive earlier this month ignited the conflict in the Middle East, Democratic infighting and anxieties over Israel’s response have become increasingly public as an array of Democrats push unequivocal support for Israel while a number of progressives have grown increasingly critical of the offensive impacting Palestinian civilians.
Earlier this week, the House passed a resolution supporting Israel in the war against Hamas in the first measure of newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson’s tenure following the tumultuous three weeks after Kevin McCarthy’s ouster.
The resolution, which passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, says the House is “standing with Israel” as it defends itself against “Hamas and other terrorists,” and calls on Hamas to “immediately cease these violent attacks” and release all “living hostages.”
“Last night, 15 of my Democratic colleagues voted AGAINST standing with our ally Israel and condemning Hamas terrorists who brutally murdered, raped, and kidnapped babies, children, men, women, and elderly, including Americans. They are despicable and do not speak for our party,” Gottheimer, who is Jewish, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Carson, who is Muslim, was quick to respond after seeing the tweet – lambasting Gottheimer as “cowardly” and “not acting in the role as a member of Congress.”
“I think he’s shown himself to be very emotional. I think he’s posturing before the cameras. He postured before caucus, but like most cowardly people, when you confront them, they’re afraid. I’m unafraid of the guy. I’d like to sit down to talk to him. He probably doesn’t want to talk to me,” Carson told CNN.